Essays from The Education of a Bengali Gentleman
A Face for the Mountains
My recent trip to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains has renewed my admiration and fascination with mountains. No, it is not a new Phase of the Mountains. Mountains and I have had a long love-hate relationship. Luckily, the mountains will always be older than me. Once for a summer vacation in Gulmarg, Kashmir, while staying in a camp style hotel, I had my first experience of snow on the Himalayas. My only brother, who passed away during the monsoons after a summer in the mountains, has a picture my parents and I have kept for his memory, squatting on a ledge by the Himalaya mountains of Kurseong, West Bengal. Couple of years laters while hiking in the Rajmahal Hills of Sahibganj, Bihar, I got caught in the middle of a rock avalanche. Luckily I got away with a few bruises. Then on a van ride through the mountains near Kathmandu, the passenger doors came open, and my father rolled out of the car and nearly got run over by the rear wheels. Despite all of this misfortunes, my love and adoration for mountains is unwavering. I will be older and wiser but the mountains will be older. So, when my daughters moved to Colorado, we keep going back again and again to the Rocky Mountains. I especially love to visit the Horsetooth Reservoir and neighboring mountains as there happens to be an alpaca ranch in the vicinity. The way alpacas first race to meet visitors is very significant with me. From their home in the mountains of distant Peru they may must have formed a special bonding with humans. On my last trip in November I began to notice that the men in Colorado sport a beard. Therefore I am working on a face for the mountains by letting by stubble grow out. Hopefully in the next few months, before my next visit to the Rockies, I will sport a reasonable mountain beard. In the meantime I have started sketching mountains in my BuJo journal with coloring pencils. I love to draw in my journals. My mountain models all come from Google images of mountain paintings for beginners. Writing and drawing in my journals gives me the feeling of watching my life from the outside looking in. I am also discovering that with a few colored pencils I can transfer my love and attachment to paper and this blog for posterity. Every time I start a new sketch I can smell the pines and feel a crisp breeze rustle brush through my hair. My favorite pastime is to imagine looking out of bay windows over a trail that rises over the ridges and falls away to valleys to softer green meadows. The smell of dark coffee swirling out of a blackened kettle warming over the wood fire in the hearth. The bleat of the alpacas rising out of the valley below shrouded in layers of mist. Then when the sun breaks through the cloud cover, a line of geese traveling south. I have also taken a liking to listening for long stretches to the ringing of Tibetan singing bowls. When my move to the mountains I want to own a singing bowl to make my own song. I hear internet signals on the mountains are not robust. So I must perfect my singing bowl. By then my painting mountains will not need a Google picture to copy. Already my youngest daughter who is quite the artist praised my rudimentary sketches.
Pictures from my BuJo